Kubernetes and Linux: Is It a Good Combo?

When it comes to software deployment and development, Kubernetes has quickly risen in popularity as being one of the best tools for managing containerized applications at scale. The best way to squeeze the most performance and stability out of your Kubernetes cluster is, you guessed it, to run it on top of a Linux system. Linux has a proven track record of decades of stability in running the most demanding applications, and Kubernetes proves to be no exception. In this tutorial, we will look at the ways Linux and Kubernetes make a good combo in running a large cluster of applications at scale.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • Kubernetes and Linux: Is It a Good Combo?
Kubernetes and Linux: Is It a Good Combo?
Kubernetes and Linux: Is It a Good Combo?
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Any Linux distro
Software Kubernetes
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is container orchestration software that allows us to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications. It has gained a lot of traction over the recent years and has become the most viable way to horizontally and vertically scale applications, even outperforming traditional methods such as virtualization. Kubernetes was originally developed and used by Google, and has since been taken over by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Why is Linux the best host OS for Kubernetes?

Kubernetes can run on a variety of operating systems and is not built specifically for Linux in mind. Although it would raise a few eyebrows, you could deploy your Kubernetes clusters on a network of Windows worker nodes if you wanted. But with Linux being free, open source, efficient to set up, and unbeatably stable, it does not make much since to not use it.

Containerized applications, like those built to run in Docker, are also operating system agnostic. So, no matter what applications you choose to run in your Kubernetes cluster, there should not be a situation in which you are forced to use one operating system or another. Objectively speaking, though, Linux is the best host operating system for Kubernetes.

Let’s look at some key reasons for what makes Linux a great choice as a host system for Kubernetes:

Linux is open source

Linux is open source, just like Kubernetes, and completely free. So we can set up any number of nodes without needing to pay for anything except the hardware. Both Kubernetes and Linux encourage contributions from the community, and can outpace other closed source projects due to the vast number of diverse contributors that are constantly auditing and adding code for new features.


Far before Kubernetes was conceived, Linux has always been known for its unparalleled scalability. Before containerization, virtualization was the biggest thing in the industry when it came to maximizing scalability potential. Just like containerization, Linux dominates the virtualization space thanks to its small overhead and versatility.


While Windows administrators compare how many days of uptime they are able to accrue on their systems, Linux admins compare the number of years their systems have been up. Linux very rarely runs into an error that requires a reboot to fix, and it can normally apply all needed updates without any downtime at all.

Compatibility and ease of use

Kubernetes is very easy to use on Linux. You can very quickly get set up with kubeadm, minikube, MicroK8s, or some other Kubernetes options by just typing a few commands into your terminal. Kubernetes has been designed to take advantage of all the features in Linux, and has been tested to be perfectly compatible with all the most major Linux distributions.


While no system is perfect, Linux has a long history of being a secure solution for the sensitive data of many enterprises. When running a production Kubernetes cluster, you need a foundation that you can trust to keep your services and files secure. Linux has a lot of open source firewall and security solutions if you need that extra layer of protection.

Utilization of Linux features

  • The Linux kernel provides seccomp, which is a sandbox technology that Kubernetes utilizes to keep containers separated into their own environments.
  • When it comes to network addons, Linux has a staggering list of technologies that it is able to support, which cover a big variety of scenarios and preferences.
  • Kubernetes intelligently manages resources, which it can do with a high degree of granularity thanks to built-in Linux kernel tools like cgroups for managing CPU, RAM, and disk input/output.
  • Linux namespaces are also utilized by Kubernetes to create a separation for resources that each pod can be exposed to individually.

Closing Thoughts

In this tutorial, we learned about why a Linux system and Kubernetes make for an ideal combo when it comes to running a cluster of containerized applications. Linux provides a solid foundation of stability on which Kubernetes can run more reliably and integrate with system features. In tandem, they are able to provide a cluster of virtually endless scalability and fault tolerance that can handle even the most demanding workloads.

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